I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Reaper's Touch by Eleri Stone
Genres: Dystopian, Paranormal Romance
Series: Reaper #1
Published by Carina Press, Harlequin on February 10, 2014
Source: Book Tour
Abby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.
Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.
Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.
REAPER’S TOUCH is something of a cowboys vs. zombies novel, wrapped in a paranormal romance. Eleri Stone has created a really interesting world that reminds me a lot of the setting of Firefly and Serenity, Joss Whedon’s criminally cancelled TV show-turned-movie. The show was an amazing dystopian space western; the Reaper world is very similar, except it’s not set in space. It’s set in a very different America, in which the frontier is plagued by Reapers, people who have become infected with a parasite that turns them into cannibalistic, brutal killers who roam the fringes of the civilized world, raiding, raping, infecting, and killing. (They’re quite similar to the Reavers from Firefly and Serenity).
Generally, the characters are well developed. As one of the few people with a natural immunity, Abby had no choice but to become a Ranger, part of the band that try to keep the Reapers away from the settlers. Understandably, she has quite a chip on her shoulders: she’s expected to breed since every child she would have would be immune and would be drafted into the Rangers. There are some who would prefer she be sequestered away but Abby wants to be on the front lines, finding it a better alternative even though she lacks the killer instinct. She’s an easy character to like and understand. Jake, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. As a sentient Reaper almost 200 years old, he has a lot of baggage in addition to the murderous parasite that lives inside him. He’s very Jekyll and Hyde in a lot of ways but he fights the parasite every step of the way because he’s so invested in the search for a cure. He’s subjected himself to merciless scientists as part of this quest and is willing to do anything that might help.
Watching them fall for each other is a slow but fairly natural progression. Their mutual attraction is dampened by their distrust for each other at certain points but you can see the feelings between them grow as REAPER’S TOUCH progresses. Despite that, for me, the love story was less interesting than the setting, though it is well written. I was much more engaged by the world, with its glaring class distinctions, rugged setting, and dangers at every turn. I really enjoyed the historical western setting, especially since it’s been combined with some neat science.
REAPER’S TOUCH is well worth your time if you like post-apocalyptic romance, especially if you’re willing to take a chance on something historical. The worldbuilding in this story is wonderful and REAPER’S TOUCH is the beginning of what will hopefully be a standout paranormal romance series. Give the excerpt a try to see if it’s to your tastes.
I’m reviewing this book as part of a promotional tour from Book Monster Promotions so we also have a tour-wide giveaway for you today. The grand prize winner will receive one $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and two runners up will each receive a $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Check the Rafflecopter for full details.